Cultural critic Rebecca Solnit and Jeffrey McNeely are new A.D. White Professors-at-Large, appointed to six-year terms through June 2015.
Solnit writes about such subjects as landscape, politics, emerging technologies, place and society. "Rebecca Solnit's work is remarkably broad and creative, spanning the sciences, arts and humanities," said Steven Strogatz, program chair and the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics.
Solnit is also an activist concerned with the environment and environmental and social justice. Her 12 books include "Storming the Gates of Paradise"; "A Field Guide to Getting Lost"; "Hope in the Dark"; "Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities"; "Wanderlust: A History of Walking" and "As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender and Art." She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, the Lannan Literary Award, as well as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award.
McNeely is the chief scientist for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. "Jeff McNeely is an outstanding applied scholar who has been at the forefront of emerging environmental priorities worldwide for over three decades," Strogatz said. "He is also no stranger to Cornell: In 2008 he participated in the Department of Natural Resources' Fall Seminar Series and gave two presentations to standing-room only audiences."
McNeely's research interests include human land use as it relates to the conservation of natural resources, particularly tropical forests, wildlife and indigenous cultures; practical measures, including economic incentives for conserving areas of outstanding importance for biodiversity; human impacts on wildlife resources; mammals of Southeast Asia; and integration of economic development with environmental conservation. He has designed numerous programs, advised governments and conservation organizations on conservation policy and practice, and produced a variety of technical and popular publications.
There are currently 17 active professors-at-large who have been invited to enliven the intellectual and cultural life of the university. They visit campus three or four times during their term to present public programs and engage in intellectual exchange with faculty and students in classroom, laboratory and informal settings. Past appointees include filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, primatologist Jane Goodall, novelists Toni Morrison and Eudora Welty, poets Octavio Paz and Adrienne Rich, physician Oliver Sacks and actor John Cleese.